Exploring Passivity and Aggressiveness in Lolly Willowes

While reading Lolly Willowes, I noticed that part of the reason for Laura’s decision to separate herself from society altogether is her unwillingness to accept her passive role within a aggressively male dominated society. In an article I found by Bruce Knoll entitled “An Existence Doled Out: Passive Resistance as a Dead end in Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Lolly Willowes,” Knoll discusses Lolly’s early attempts at a passive resistance to her male centered world. He explains that “an old skin of passive resistance is growing around Laura the child. She will have to slough off this skin to emerge outside the passive/aggressiv9788528617252e duality in which she has had forced on her.” This passage explains why Lolly’s only other option is to find something that is completely new, which is separatism. This separatism stems from Laura’s need for autonomy from a society that she does not fit into. Once she finds this autonomy, she does not need to return to the masculinity. She finds a true balance between the passive/aggressive duality when she “merges with nature.” An important passage from Knoll’s article helps to elaborate on this point: “Laura’s lesson is twofold. She learns under which circumstances she must assert herself without falling back into the safe but deadly passive role assigned to women. But she also learns how to let nature claim her- not a totally passive act, for by opening herself up to nature, whose influence reached her even in London, she allowed herself to be transformed from the passive child to the assertive adult.” This idea is very interesting to me, and I hope I can follow it into something greater and more well developed.

-Timmy Box

 

Article Referenced: http://www.jstor.org.unco.idm.oclc.org/stable/441691?Search=yes&resultItemClick=true&searchText=lolly&searchText=willowes&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dlolly%2Bwillowes%26amp%3Bacc%3Don%26amp%3Bwc%3Don%26amp%3Bfc%3Doff%26amp%3Bgroup%3Dnone&seq=19#page_scan_tab_contents

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